Notes from the Past

Postage Rates in 1847 - Part V

In 1847, advertisers had long since learned to use the mails to distribute circulars and handbills.  The circular and handbill rates were somewhat lower than regular letters.  Rates for these items were provided by Postal Laws and Regulations for the Government of the Post Office Department published in 1847 as follows:
CHAPTER 18.

Postage on Circulars and Handbills.

    138.  On all circulars or handbills which may be printed or lithographed, on quarto post of single cap paper, or paper not larger than single cap, and which are folded and directed but left unsealed, three cents on each for any distance, to be paid in advance when the circulars are deposited in the office; when sealed to be rated as letters, and when rated as letters prepayment is not required.
    139.  Quarto post is the size usually called letter paper, single cap is the size commonly called foolscap or writing paper.
    140.  When the circular is on a sheet larger than single cap, it is to be rated with pamphlet postage.
    141.  If persons with obvious and palpable intent to evade the payment of postage, in their correspondence, send through the mails matters of private concern, in printed sheets, having the form and some of the characteristics of newspapers or pamphlets, such papers are to be taken and considered as handbills or circulars, and must be charged with postage accordingly.  And publications containing advertisements, recommendations of goods, &c., although they borrow the name of newspaper and may contain a quantity of general matter, are to be rated as handbills.
    142.  Prospectuses of newspapers accompanying papers, or sent separately, are to be charged as circulars, and postage required in advance.
    143.  Engravings are to be charged with handbill postage.
    144.  Letter postage is to be charged on all handbills, circulars, or other things assuming that shape, which contain manuscript writing whatever.
    145.  Corrected proof sheets are to be charged with postage on pamphlets not periodical, in case the corrections be those only of typographical errors; but if new matter be introduced by the corrections, the sheets are subject to letter postage.
    146.  Postmasters will charge letter postage on all packets that are closely enveloped and sealed, so that what they contain cannot be known, and on newspapers so enveloped as not to be open at one end.

To Be Continued.

Posted September 3, 2000

Editor's Note:  Modern philatelists are indebted to Theron Wierenga who republished this volume in 1980.  Italics follow the original.

Index of 508 Notes from the Past

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